1. Home

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://video.about.com/painting/How-to-Paint-a-Tree.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Video:How to Paint a Tree

with Ethan Harrington

It's easier to paint a tree than you think. Learn how to paint a tree with this easy tutorial.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Home Videos
  • Painting Videos

Transcript:How to Paint a Tree

Hi, my name is Ethan Harrington and I have been a Plein-Air Painter here in Seattle for about 20 years. And today I just wanted to go over a few points about painting a tree. So I have got one right behind me. Let's get started.

Prepare Your Colors to Paint a Tree

I like to make sure that I have plenty of color on my palette, so that I don't have to think about getting more paint on there; I can really concentrate on the painting process. Just adding a little of that painting medium to help the paint flow a little better.

I am just looking at the tree, and it's kind of when I get a feeling for the general shape and the feeling of it. To me, it's like fingers or something, it has got an interesting shape.

Paint Boldly and Fill the Canvas With Color to Paint a Tree

I like to start out with just some real bold stuff, just not committed at all to anything that I am doing, but at the same time giving myself lots of room and options, if I want to change anything as I go. I am mostly interested in the base of the tree, where a lot of the action is happening.

Sometimes you end up painting a tree by painting everything behind it for starters. So I want to paint all the shadowy dark area behind the tree, and that should help me to identify the shape of the tree.

I want to make sure that I fill up the whole canvas with color before I start getting too interested in the details, starting to cut out these shapes a little bit more with some of that sky in the background. Mostly I have been painting the tree by painting everything but the tree.

Shape the Limbs to Paint a Tree

Now that I have got lots of color on the canvas and I have got things basically where I want them, I can go in now and start to get more specific about the limbs and the shapes by using a little bit of the darker colors that I want to use for my shadows.

What's great about painting a tree is that you don't have to be really accurate, as long as you kind of make it look all narrow and limb like, it's going to be a tree. Now I am going to put some of my highlights in and get some of those popping colors that will really give it some action.

Tips for Painting a Tree

There is no particular method to my madness in terms of when I add shadows or light or put on thicker paint or thinner. The main thing is just to keep having fun, and you can chip away at it. That's the fun thing about oil, it's so spontaneous. If you don't love it, wipe off that area and try again.

One good thing to do is to back away from your painting from time to time. Just get some perspective on it. It's easy to get a little too bogged down in the details and lose the big picture.

So that's how I like to get started with the tree painting, and sure, I would love to spend a little bit more time working on it, but I think I have got a great start. So thanks for watching and I will see you next time.
About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.